SAJP Fellows

Smita Nair

Senior Assistant Editor at The Indian Express

Posted in the state of Goa on the west coast of India, Smita’s role is to cover the entire state. She looks into all aspects that concern Goans including tourism, daily political and social developments, and issues surrounding exploitation of the natural environment. Seeing other Chevening Fellows returning to India with enhanced skills and a fine tuned approach to working inspired Smita to apply for the South Asia Journalism Programme as she too wanted to gain access to the same resource pool that previous fellows now have access to. Smita describes how it will be a refreshing exercise to return to the classroom and to re-learn new ways of engaging with a story. Besides her academic interests, she is also keen to interact with her cohort of fellows and to create lasting relationships with them all.

Sanjay Mishra

Associate Editor at Dainik Jagran

Reporting on Indian political affairs, diplomatic-strategic affairs, and parliament news, Sanjay also writes special analysis and interviews significant national and international figures. He personally enjoys reporting on elections, natural and man-made disasters, internal conflict situations, and uncovering the problems of rural India. Besides the academic rigours of the South Asia Journalism Fellowship, Sanjay is also keen to learn and understand more about British society and culture. He hopes to use this opportunity to connect with people from government, academia, and sports alongside exploring all the beautiful natural scenery that is on offer here in the UK.

Veenu Sandhu

Associate Editor at Business Standard Private Limited

As an associate editor, Veenu plans and produces the weekend newspaper for Business Standard, one of India’s leading business daily newspapers. Besides her heavy emphasis on reporting, writing, and editing, Veenu also oversees the mentoring of juniors in her team. Besides writing in-depth articles on topics spanning from politics right through to health and corporate trends, she also writes a monthly column called Viewfinder which largely focuses on current news and issues. Veenu feels that now, two decades into her career, is the perfect time for her to step back and look at the media with a fresh mind. Working with informed UK journalists and academics is just the opportunity she feels she needs to help inform her future as a journalist. She describes how she is looking forward to interacting and networking with media professionals here in the UK and to observing how British newsrooms operate.

Akansha Pradeep

Show Producer at CNN NEWS18

As a producer of a prime time news show, Akansha is responsible for the overall appearance of the show. This includes working closely with various departments to ensure smooth execution of ideas and inputs within stipulated deadlines. Some of her key responsibilities involve experimenting with formats, handling breaking news situations, and sieving out relevant information in the daily news cycle. Akansha is looking forward to broadening her horizons and to learning best practise in the field of journalism. She feels that the nature of this fellowship will enable her to bolster her future with fresh ideas and inputs. She is also keen to see how western newsrooms and media professionals work in this fast paced digital world.

Dinakar Peri

Defence Correspondent at The Hindu

Dinakar works as a defence correspondent for The Hindu which is one of India’s leading national daily newspapers. In his role he actively covers the Indian Ministry of Defence, military diplomacy, think tank activity, and public and private industry news. He was keen to participate in the Chevening South Asia Journalism Programme and felt it was tailored to his needs due to its specific focus on journalism with an academic outlook. As someone who is keen to stay abreast of the fast changing media landscape of the journalism sector, he feels that the fellowship will allow him to do just that whilst also giving him a chance to explore the vibrant media and academic community of the UK.

Adnan Aamir

Editor at Balochistan Voices

Adnan is the founder and editor of Balochistan Voices, an online newspaper covering Balochistan province of Pakistan. Balochistan Voices was established in February 2016 to highlight the issues of Balochistan which are often side-lined by the Pakistani mainstream media. Apart from that he has been working as a freelance journalist covering Balochistan for last six years. He covers, security, socio-economics, development and human rights issues. His works have been published in The News, Newsline Magazine, Daily Times, Asia Times, and South China Morning Post among others. Adnan holds a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Balochistan. Adnan was the pioneer of data journalism in Balochistan and regularly produces data driven stories to highlight most pressing issues of Balochistan. He has reported extensively on the political economy of Balochistan including the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. He won the Agahi Award for Journalist of the Year in Business and Economic Reporting Category in 2016. He is excited to get acquainted with UK media best practises and to learn from the experiences from the other fellows in his cohort.

Zia Ur Rehman

Senior Reporter at The News International

Zia Ur Rehman is an award-winning journalist and researcher, mainly focusing on conflict, human rights, minorities, and politics. Currently he is a senior reporter with the prominent English daily The News International in Pakistan. He has also written for The New York Times and The National. Zia has contributed to the research work of the United States Institute for Peace, Amnesty International, the DW Akademie, and the Norwegian Center for Conflict Resolution. His book ‘Karachi in Turmoil’ was published in 2013, and his chapter on Pashtuns in Karachi features in ‘Cityscapes of violence in Karachi’ (Hurst, 2017).

Rehman hopes that this Chevening fellowship will expand his knowledge and skills, and heighten his perspective on the issues of good governance and democracy.

Rohini Mohan

Independant journalist

Rohini Mohan is an independent journalist who writes on politics, environment, and human rights in South Asia. For over a decade, she has written for Al Jazeera, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, The Hindu, The Economic Times, Tehelka, The Caravan,, The Wire, New Indian Express, and news channel CNN-IBN. Her first book is the award-winning The Seasons of Trouble: Life Amid the Ruins of Sri Lanka’s Civil War (2014). For her journalism, she has received numerous awards including the ICRC prize for reporting on conflict, 2012, and the South Asian Journalists Association reporting award, 2010.

Rohini studied at Columbia University, the Asian College of Journalism, and Mount Carmel College.

As a Chevening fellow, Rohini hopes to explore how the media impacts democratic processes, and return to India to pursue journalism with renewed vigour.

Prem Shankar

Deputy Editor and Head of Digital Platforms at News18 Tamil Nadu

Prem Shanker is the Deputy Editor and Head of Digital Platforms at News18 Tamil Nadu, a Tamil news television channel in South India. Prior to this he was the Bureau Chief of The Economic Times in Tamil Nadu. He has nineteen years of experience in journalism, across print, television, and online media. Prem has reported extensively on Tamil Nadu politics, crime, natural disasters, and has also covered Tamil issues in Sri Lanka. Prem was instrumental in launching the first independent and neutral Tamil regional news television channel – Puthiya Thalaimurai. He has been published in Al Jazeera, The Hindu, and The New Indian Express.

Prem Shanker studied at Loyola College, Chennai, and at Madras Christian College, Chennai.

He believes that journalism in the regional language space has to be necessarily independent and professional and follow a model of not-for-profit in order to truly deliver good journalism. He hopes that the Chevening fellowship will give him the opportunity to interact with those who are already doing this internationally and learn how the model may be replicated in India.

Naimul Karim

Staff reporter at The Daily Star

Naimul Karim has worked with The Daily Star, a Bangladeshi English daily for over six years, focusing on terrorism, migration, culture, climate change, and sports. In 2015, Karim was the paper’s Reporter of the Year for a series of stories related to Bangladesh’s sporting industry. His in-depth reporting on illegal migration and trafficking has earned him accolades. He has also been published in The Hindu, The Indian Express, Open Magazine and First Post.

He studied at the Asian College of Journalism, the Manipal Institute of Communications, and the University of Cardiff. Karim also teaches at the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh.

He hopes that the Chevening fellowship will help him further improve his journalistic skills.

Mohamed Nasih

Editor at

Mohamed Nasih is the co-founder and editor of, a fast growing independent news website in the Maldives. He mainly covers business and economic stories but he is also a news presenter and producer of short video reports and documentaries. Before starting this website Mohamed worked with the national broadcaster TVM and the number one news website in the Maldives, Nasih has also worked as a communication consultant for the Ministry of Environment and Energy and as a part time lecturer in the Maldives National University, his alma mater.

He believes his time on a Chevening Fellowship will be a great opportunity to learn from the best in the field of journalism and to develop strong bonds with fellow journalists from South Asia and the UK.

Iffat Rizvi

Special Correspondent at Neo Television Network

Iffat Rizvi is a senior correspondent with Neo Television network in Pakistan. She has twelve years of media experience in Pakistan, including with ARY News, Geo News, and 92 news. She has reported extensively on high profile Supreme Court cases, such as Panamagate, and has also covered issues related to Kashmir. Iffat has contributed to the research work of Transparency International and Population Services International. Iffat is also an author and columnist.

She studied at the University of Karachi and has been a fellow at the International Centre for Journalists. During her Chevening fellowship she hopes to gain international exposure, share experiences with academics, political figures and media persons from South Asia and the UK.

Hanif Rehman

Programme Anchor and News Controller at Khyber New Television Station

Hanif Rehman started his fourteen-year journalism career at the Pashto language television station Khyber News, where he is currently a programme anchor and controller for news and current affairs. Hanif hosts two prominent current affairs talk shows each week on politics and security issues. Hanif has also been editor of a daily Urdu newspaper Akhbar-e-Khyber.

Hanif has been trained in journalism at the International Centre for Journalists in Washington DC and at Radio Netherlands in Holland. He studied at Karachi University.

Being an ethnic Pashtun and permanent resident of Swat region (heavily affected by militancy), Hanif is deeply interested in the issues related to Pakhtunkhwa, FATA and Afghanistan. He has interviewed a number of prominent Pashtun politicians and figures on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

Gonila Hassnain

Staff Reporter at the Daily Dunya

Gonila Hassnain works for Daily Dunya Lahore, one of Pakistan’s Urdu dailies, reporting on human rights, minority rights, women’s rights, and current affairs. She is especially keen to use her profession to highlight the issues of minority groups in Pakistan. Besides being a working journalist, Gonila is active in the Lahore Press Club women’s committee and the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists. Gonila has served as a member of the governing body of the PUJ Punjab Union of Journalists from 2007 to 2009.

She studied at Punjab University. Gonila is keen to apply her learning from the fellowship to help young female journalists back home. She would also like to build a strong network of contacts with fellow journalists, and to learn from their experiences.

Emanuel Sarfraz

Coordinating Editor at The Nation

Emanuel Sarfraz works with The Nation, one of Pakistan’s English dailies. During his twenty-two year career at The Nation, he has worked in the newsroom and as a field reporter focusing on art, culture, education, politics, elections, foreign affairs, and minorities. His assignments as special correspondent have covered humanitarian disasters and terrorist incidents across Pakistan, and his international assignments have included covering the plight of Rohingya refugees in Thailand.  

He studied at Forman Christian College and the University of Punjab and he hopes that the Chevening Fellowship will help him hone his analytical skills and give him understanding of how the UK stands out as a democracy.

Chathuri Dissanayake

Freelance journalist at the Daily Financial and EFE Newswire

Chathuri Dissanayake is a senior journalist with the Daily Financial Times in Sri Lanka. She has been writing on gender, politics, and governance issues for more than a decade. She is particularly focused on the disenfranchisement of marginalised communities, including the impact of public policies on poverty alleviation. She has also written extensively on reconciliation during and after the end of Sri Lanka’s 27-year civil war. She has worked for Sri Lanka’s Sunday Times, the Global Press Journal, and has freelanced with newswire EFE.

She studied at Colombo University and the Australian National University.

Chathuri hopes that a Chevening Fellowship will equip her with new knowledge, insights, and contacts to broaden her understanding of international issues and how they link to challenges facing Sri Lanka and other developing countries. 

Arshad Yusufzai

Senior Reporter at the Daily Times

Arshad Yusufzai has worked with Pakistan’s English newspaper Daily Times since 2015. He writes on security, minorities, gender equality, and tourism. He also covers the War on Terror from Pakistan's frontline city, Peshawar and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).  Arshad has also been published in The News International, Dawn, and, Herald.

Arshad has worked with the European Institute for Peace, the International Committee of the Red Cross and with the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue on mediation with the Afghan Taliban. 

Arshad believes the Chevening experience will improve his approach towards writing on complex issues, particularly taboo topics like gender equality in Pakistan’s conservative region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.